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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 27, 2015

Miming Utopia – Community at the Crossroads in Antonioni’s Blow-Up

Stefan Glomb and Stella Butter


This article examines how different forms of community are staged in Michelangelo Antonioni’s film Blow-Up (1966) and analyses their social, political, epistemological and aesthetic dimensions. The focus on community helps to explain how the film’s self-referential engagement with visuality and the depiction of Swinging London interconnect. The article argues that Blow-Up distinguishes two paradigms of community within youth counter-culture: ‘community as delusion’ and ‘community as utopian potential.’ The former is unwittingly complicit with the very power structures counter-culture opposes: the mechanisms of consumer society with their concomitant effects of reifying and isolating the individual. In contrast, the mimes embody community as utopian potential in different respects, as is shown in a comparative analysis of the two paradigms based on the following parameters: static/dynamic, old/new, creativity, visuality, technology and commodification.

Corresponding authors: Dr. Stefan Glomb, English Department II, University of Mannheim, Schloss EW 269, 68131 Mannheim, Germany, e-mail: ; and PD Dr. Stella Butter, International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture, University of Gießen, Alter Steinbacher Weg 38, 35394 Gießen, Germany, e-mail:

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Published Online: 2015-11-27
Published in Print: 2015-12-1

©2015 by De Gruyter

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